What’s up, everyone? Today, we’re going to jump into what a meta description is. We’re going to talk about what a good meta description looks like, what a bad meta description looks like, and we’re also going to be talking about the perfect meta description length. Stay for the whole video, because we’re going to do a detailed overview of exactly how to write a perfect meta description for your website. I’m Tommy Griffith with ClickMinded.com, let’s get going. Okay. So, writing the perfect meta description for your website, and for search engine optimization in general. Let’s dive into this. Before we do that, though, just a quick reminder to kind of set the context of how all this works. We’re talking about meta description, we’re talking about search engine optimization here. I want to reiterate that SEO is only one piece of digital marketing. It should really only be one piece of your strategy. SEO is one channel among many to drive traffic and customers to your website. Within SEO, the meta description tag is only one piece of that. We’re talking about meta descriptions here.
Meta descriptions are one component of SEO and SEO is one component of your entire digital marketing strategy. Do keep that in mind as we dive into this. Meta descriptions here. Meta descriptions are the little snippet of text that you see in search results when you’re scanning them, right? Writing a really compelling one is really, really valuable in terms of driving traffic to your site, increasing your click-through rate. Let’s go into some of the details on how that works now.
Meta descriptions should be about between 50 and 300 characters. This is a new change. Google updated their rules in December of 2017. In the past, the general rule of thumb was about 165 characters, about three lines in the search results. Google has changed the rules here. They’re expanding meta description size and you do need to keep that in mind now. Now what used to be about three lines, it’s being expanded to four, five, sometimes six lines depending on the query.
From Google’s perspective, the idea here is that Google is always trying to render the perfect results for users. They’re trying to get users to the answer to their question. It looks like what they’re testing, what they’ve concluded is that sometimes a really well written, long meta description solves the user’s answer and they won’t have to click. They won’t need to click to get to the results, therefore the user gets the results faster. This is sort of the world we’re in now. The long and short of it is that meta descriptions can now be extended to about 300 characters. Do keep that in mind. Meta descriptions should be unique for each page. You shouldn’t be writing one meta description and putting it everywhere. Everyone should be … The ideal would be to hand write every single one. If you can’t do that and you have engineering experience, or you’re doing optimization on a web application, you’re going to want to use variables that make it unique.
Finding reasonable variables to include in the meta description can be really, really helpful in that. But, you do want each page to have a unique meta description. You want to use your main keyword. Once you’ve decided what keyword you’re optimizing that URL for, make sure to get it in there, because Google and other search engines will bold that keyword. In general, the user’s eyes can move towards that word if it’s bolded. You do want to try and get your primary keyword in there if you can. Some other stuff to keep in mind when you’re writing your meta description. Your meta description in general doesn’t impact the rankings. Whether you have your keyword in there or not, it’s not going to move you up and down search results directly.
It’s not a direct ranking factor. However, it is incredibly important from a click-through rate perspective and that can effect rankings. The average user is only going to give you about one to two seconds before they decide whether or not they want to click you. Your meta description is effectively, the old school way to think about this is your billboard on the highway, right? You’re driving down the highway, you look up at a billboard. You’re only going to give it a couple of seconds and it may or may not have an impact on you. This is the digital equivalent of your billboard. Users are scanning. They’re probably not reading the whole thing. Keep all of that in mind when you’re writing them.
It’s not going to impact rankings directly, but it is going to impact your click-through rate. If it’s compelling, if it’s interesting, if it looks like it’s going to answer the user’s question, you’re going to see an increase in click-through rate. Make it compelling to click, right? Get some really good ad copy in here. We’ll go over a couple examples in a little bit, but the basic idea here is you want it to be compelling for humans. This is a human optimization, not a robot optimization. The other thing to keep in mind here is that Google reserves the right to not use your meta description. As annoying as that is, we’re saying, okay, invest a bunch of time and effort into writing really compelling meta descriptions, but somewhere between two-thirds and half the time, Google won’t use them. They essentially will crawl your website, will look for some text or some copy that looks relevant to the user’s query, and they’ll supplicate that in there instead. Super frustrating, but that’s the world we live in, right? You want to write really good, compelling meta descriptions.
You want to assume that Google is going to use them, but they won’t all the time. Just do keep that in mind. A lot of people get really rattled by this. They do a search for their primary keyword, they see that they’re ranking. They see that Google is not using their meta description. Not a lot you can do there. Maybe send Larry and Sergei an email, but don’t ask me about. That’s sort of what Google has decided is best for users right now. So, do keep that in mind. Let’s do an example meta description. Let’s say we were creating a page, we’re trying to optimize it for the term “SEO Checklist.” We have this page and we might write a meta description like this.
We have our checklist, the title is “The Insanely Powerful 2019 SEO Checklist”, we have a meta description. “Starting a new site from scratch or just launching a single page? Either way, use this insanely powerful 2019 SEO checklist.” We’ve got our primary keyword there in description. You can see that Google has bolded it for us. Just a couple reminders here. First of all, Google is not going to move us up or down the rankings for this, but maybe if I’m a user and I’m querying this, my eyes are moving towards this term. Maybe this is increasing click-through rates. It’s compelling, it’s interesting. I might go ahead and click this here. This is an okay meta description.
However, in this new world, we need to optimize it. Google has recently expanded meta description length, so, we do want to look at this now. That was within a 165 character limit, but now we’re expanded a little bit right, so Google is giving us more real estate. We want to take that real estate whenever they give it to us. The rule of thumb here is about 300 characters. I might go in and really add some additional content to this, if I can. “Starting a new site from scratch or just launching a single page? Either way, use this insanely powerful …” It will depend on what your industry is, what the right copy would be for you. The basic idea here is the length is now increased to about 300 characters. Any time Google gives you a chance to take up more digital pixel real estate, you should probably take it.
This new expansion of meta description length can be really powerful, especially because a lot of people haven’t implemented it, yet. One great win is you can go into Google Analytics, sort all of your pages by traffic referred from search engines, start at the top, and expand your meta descriptions out to maximize out that character count. Right. Long story short, aim for 300 characters in your meta descriptions for now. Thanks a lot.
I hope that was helpful. If it was useful and if you learned something today, go ahead and click subscribe down below for even more digital marketing tactics and tips from us. If you’re on YouTube, I would love a comment. Are you seeing 300 character meta descriptions out in the SERPs now? What do you think? How are you writing these? I would love to hear what you have to say.
I read every single comment. Finally, if you want a free SEO checklist from us so you can optimize all your pages, go ahead and click the link down below to ClickMinded.com and grab your free checklist right now. Thanks a lot..